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Tigers lose to Woodville; play Hazlehurst Friday

It was tough going for Crystal Springs in Woodville last Friday night as the Tigers dropped a 34 – 6 decision in district play. The loss dropped CSHS to 4 – 6 on the year and 0 – 4 in the district and ended all hopes of making the playoffs.
Trailing by only 14 points at halftime, the Tigers were still very much in the game.
Crystal Springs quarterback Jamario Benson turned in a sterling run for a 35-yard touchdown in the third stanza.
Breaking over right tackle, he cut back through a seam in the Wilkinson County secondary and crossed the field for the score. The two-point extra point attempt failed.
“They only had us 14 – 0 at the half,” said Tiger Head Coach Johnny Young. “Our injuries really hurt us in the second half. We had five starters out, and I don’t know if any of them will be able to play this week.”
Five straight losses ago the Tigers and their fans had every reason to hope for a spot in this year’s playoffs.
CSHS had just won four in a row, capping the four-game run with a signature win over Canton on the road on September 14.
“Injuries plagued us,” Young said, “and then we had three starters suspended for the Prentiss game and played with half our defense out. That loss really set us back.”
“When we were on our four game winning streak,” said senior lineman Victor Lewis, “we were playing and having fun. Now it just seems like we were too tense and taking everything too seriously in our district games.
Another senior lineman put it even more simply. “We were on a four game winning streak, but our team got the ‘big head’ and lost five in a row,” said Jakavis Lewis.
This week’s final game at Hazlehurst has taken on a special meaning for the team. “We’re out of the playoffs,” said Young, “so this is a big game for us. It’s all about heart and character right now.
“I’m looking for our seniors to step up and also some of our group who have not been getting much playing time. They will have to step it up Friday night as well.”
While perennial power in district play and currently undefeated Hazlehurst has dominated the rivalry game the past few years, it’s still the kind of game where anything can happen.
“Hopefully we can get a few breaks and we can execute well on offense, defense, and special teams,” Young added.
It has been weeks since the Tigers have done that, but they have done and done it well on occasion this season.
Just ask Canton.

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